VW Promises to Lead on Hybrids and Electric Cars
Hybrid Jetta Planned for 2012
After years of arguing that clean diesel is a better efficiency strategy compared to hybrids, Volkswagen is switching gears. In a statement issued on the eve of the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Martin Winterkorn, VW chairman of the board, said, “We will take the hybrid out of its niche status with our high-volume models. In the future, the heart of the brand will also beat with electricity.”
VW’s Electric-Drive Roll Out
- A hybrid version of the Jetta will be offered in the US in 2012
- In August 2013, the Passat Hybrid will be introduced, followed by a Golf Hybrid two months later
- Starting in 2013, VW will begin rolling out pure electric cars, starting with the e-up! minicar, followed by an all-electric Golf, and other electric vehicles yet to be named
- VW’s luxury brand Audi will also launch hybrids, beginning with an Audi Q5 Hybrid in early 2011, and a limited introduction of the electric e-tron in 2012
The Volkswagen press release states: “Starting in 2013, the high-volume Golf and Jetta models of the Volkswagen brand are expected to dominate the hybrid and electric vehicle market.”
The Eight-Year Goal
While Winterkorn’s announcements might impress future consumers interested in fuel efficiency, the VW Touareg Hybrid—its first hybrid offering, due in fall 2010—is likely to disappoint. Last month, Volkswagen unveiled a lighter leaner Touareg design, including a hybrid variant, ahead of the Geneva show. The Touareg indicates a move in the right direction, replacing the previous V8 gas-powered SUV with a lighter-weight version using a gas-electric six-cylinder powertrain with direct injection. The performance, size and towing capacity are impressive, but the expected fuel economy in the mid-20-mpg range, will fall in the middle of the Hybrid SUV pack.
“The goal is to become the market leader in E-mobility by the year 2018,” said Martin Winterkorn. His goal is to make electric vehicle’s three percent of VW sales by 2018—a target which is surpassed only by Nissan which claims that electric cars will be 10 percent of the global auto market share by 2020.
The year 2018 is also when VW hopes to overtake Toyota to become the largest automaker in the world.